The cracks are starting to show for the Cavaliers. The team playing now is a far cry from the one we saw before the road trip.
The Cavaliers appeared to be totally uninterested during their 113-105 loss to the Utah Jazz. Yes the officials made some absolutely terrible calls during the game. But it’s becoming increasingly frustrating to watch this team play. This team settles for jump shots way too easily. Jump shots that are sometimes horrible to look at. And when they do decide to attack the basket, no one other than Kyrie Irving, Tristan Thompson, and Alonzo Gee can attack with any kind of authority. And please don’t get me started on getting back on defense. On more than once occasion, the Jazz got easy points because the defense could not get back in time. It’s not really rocket science. Look at the Cavs big wins this season. They have come as a result of playing great defense. But for some reason, some just stop playing it.
I find it interesting that most of the players I’m having issues with are older players who really don’t have much future with this team. Those would be Jamison, Andy, and Parker. I am especially frustrated with the play of Andy. He has not been anywhere close to the kind of player we are used to seeing. He appears to be a slow player who just can’t, or won’t, get back on defense. I originally saw him as a huge piece going forward. But now I am not so sure. He is just one part of a starting unit that has been downright terrible in recent games.
Kyrie Irving was a bright spot this evening. He really appears to be in command of this team. He finished with 20 points and five assists. It’s just sad to see how Irving and the rest of the starters don’t even seem to be on the same planet, let alone the same talent level. Jamison finished with a team high 22 points. But he got those points on 7 of 18 shooting. As I have said, Jamison should not be taking close to twenty shots a game. But at this point, I am pretty sure the Cavaliers are simply having him take this many shots to make his stats look good. He is obviously trade bait and probably won’t be here after the trade deadline. But look at the rest of the starters. Yes Andy had a double-double. But he got four of his 12 points in garbage time. Seven of his 11 rebounds were on the offensive end of the floor. As I mentioned above, he doesn’t have the same energy or determination that he used to have. Anthony Parker had eight points and missed every shot from behind the arc. Omri Casspi continued to struggle with only five points and hitting only two shots.
The bench had a better evening. Ramon Sessions had 11 points and four assists. Alonzo Gee had 10 points and five rebounds. Tristan Thompson ended with nine points and five rebounds. Daniel Gibson racked up six points and three rebounds. And Semih Erden played 17 minutes and had two points. Not much of a stat night for him. But it’s good to see him out there. He can be contributor once he gets back to NBA speed. Remember, he’s been injured since last year.
But this starting lineup needs help. And I mean serious help. They look old and slow compared to Irving. It’s no surprise considering most of them are left over from the LeBron era. Changes have got to be made. It won’t be done tomorrow or next week. But as the trade deadline approaches, the Cavs have to find a way to bring energy to the starting lineup. The bench cannot carry this team. And it seems like they are trying to.